OWL caster ‘Sideshow’ on the Dallas Fuel’s best-case scenario in the Countdown Cup
The Countdown Cup is not a normal competition for the Dallas Fuel. Originally, it was a way for the Fuel to get back into the mix as the top team, but after parting ways with its head coach, assistant coach and top players, the Fuel stayed in tatters ahead of the final tournament in the regular season Overwatch League.
OWL caster Josh “Sideshow” Wilkinson interviewed the Dallas Morning News over the phone to discuss fuel and what their tournament might look like after a busy week.
The answers have been edited for length and brevity.
A hectic start to the week put the Dallas Fuel in a unique position. Do you think massive changes like this can be something a team can rally behind, or will it be harder than ever to assert itself?
Sideshow: “It’s hard to know, but you probably saw this stuff in the warehouse anyway. They saw (William “Crimzo” Hernandez) post the tweet with the dog in the burning building, so they must have known these kinds of profound changes were coming. Maybe they didn’t know the details, but you get a feel for the atmosphere in the team. It must have felt like people were on their way out.
“I think there might be some sense of a new direction, but I think the atmosphere in Dallas will last until the end of the season. How much will (Envy Gaming owner Mike Rufail) be involved in his new role in everyday life? What will (interim trainer Kim “Yong” Yong-Jin) look like in terms of charisma? That’s what they need now, a morale boost towards the end of the season and a strong leader to inspire them to become strong instead of falling to pieces. Because in their previous game it looked like they fell to pieces. “
What do you think an interim coach like Yong can do for fuel strategy and game preparation?
Sideshow: “I think it will be pretty much the same, but it’s hard to tell because I don’t know exactly what Yong did. I think he specialized in the strategy material. So if he takes on the role of head coach, it is possible that he is taking a very strategic approach, or it is possible that he has his hands full dealing with the interpersonal material with leadership.
“It’s hard to know, especially since he hasn’t talked about it too much, but I expect them to stick to the basics. If they try too hard and overwhelm themselves towards the end of the season, I think this is an easier way to get their players to lose confidence. “
When it comes to the lead in the game, who do you think needs to take the fuel, either by voice or by example?
Sideshow: “It will probably depend on it (tank players Noh“ Gamsu ”Youngjin and Lucas“ NotE ”Meissner). These guys are the most experienced players and have been in the Overwatch League the longest. Gamsu and NotE both have really level heads. They are not particularly emotional gamblers. They are hyper professional and do their job. So you won’t really get messed up and surrounded by rookie players.
Although Crimzo has been playing for a long time, he hasn’t been at this level for long. Then (Nolan “Paintbrush” Edwards) is a newbie and so do you (Kim “DoHa” Dongha and Stefan “Onigod” Fiskerstrand). “
“They’re pretty quiet, Gamsu and NotE, but I think within the team structure everyone else will look to them to set the calm, rational tone for the rest of the season.”
Washington was still not a strong team, but they surprised people with wins against the Los Angeles Gladiators and Houston. Does the judiciary have an advantage over fuel?
Sideshow: “I think they have an advantage but I don’t think they are favorites. You stand a stronger chance than before, knowing that (Jang “Decay” Gui-un) may not be used. You see the turmoil in the Dallas camp, but Dallas still won’t want to lose to a team like Washington Justice because they were pretty poor.
“If Dallas lost this opening game, it would be a pretty big surprise, even if Decay, Aero and Tikatee weren’t on the team. I think the desire not to lose will still inspire the fuel to be especially motivated for this first game. But I think there’s a good chance Washington will get this surprise because they have decent pieces and have played better lately. We discussed this on the Plat Chat podcast recently, and there’s a likely 35% chance that Justice will win this game, which is a lot more than you would have given them at any part of this season. “
Fans may have low expectations for fuel considering recent performances and losing staff recently. What’s the best scenario for Dallas in the Countdown Cup?
Sideshow: “The best scenario for teams that are not in the top four in North America is in my opinion the quarterfinals. Despite all of the surprises we saw at the Summer Showdown, I don’t see many surprises on the NA side of the bracket for the Countdown Cup. It seems very set. From the weeks of game we’ve seen Paris, San Francisco and Philadelphia are on top, Florida is right behind them and there is a huge gap between them and everyone else.
“Mayhem could get upset in the quarter-finals, but otherwise I don’t see a team that can get past the top teams. If Dallas wins against Washington it will likely be picked by San Francisco, and good luck with that.
“For Dallas, at best, it’s important that you don’t get upset about the judiciary, ignore your game against the top team, and try to inspire your rookie players. Think of it as an opportunity to get your name out there. You have the option to change the narrative from “The decay is gone, it’s all over” to “Once the decay is gone, these guys have shown their worth”. “
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